Belfast Telegraph

New Blue Rooney all set to spear Spartans

Spartans v Linfield, Irn Bru Cup second round: Ainslie Park, Today, 3.00pm

By Steven Beacom

New Linfield sensation Louis Rooney has set his primary target for the season - to become a champion with the Blues.

The 20-year-old became an instant hero with the Windsor Park faithful, netting an extraordinary eight minute hat-trick as a substitute in Tuesday night's 6-0 home victory over Lisburn Distillery in the League Cup. The young striker left the pitch on his debut with a beaming grin on his face as the home fans chanted 'Rooney, Rooney'.

He will hope to continue his form in front of goal today when Linfield enter the IRN-BRU Cup competition at the second round stage, taking on Scottish Lowland League outfit Spartans in Edinburgh.

Rooney hails from Plymouth and started his career with his hometown club before having loan spells with non-league Truro and Hartlepool. Game time though was limited.

When the opportunity arose last month to join Linfield on a year long deal a conversation with his Belfast-born dad, Chris, helped him make his mind up that the Irish League would be his next step.

He is well versed in Linfield's history and their desire to win silverware and Rooney wants to play his part in helping David Healy's men retain the Irish League title.

"My dad is from Belfast. He's a massive Linfield fan and he was pushing me to join as were other members of my family, so I couldn't say no," explained Rooney.

"I'm really glad to be here. It's a great opportunity for me. On Tuesday I was just happy to get on the pitch and get going again. To score a hat-trick was incredible.

"I want to get game time and grab as many goals as I can. I want to be looking forward to every Saturday playing football and I want to win the league with this team and have that experience of being in a title winning side.

"Linfield are the champions and win things. They have that winning mentality which I want in my game. It's good for myself to be working with the manager David Healy who was a striker as well and has so much experience. I hope to learn a lot and develop as a player at the club and help them achieve another successful season."

Revealing he is no relation to Everton star Wayne, Linfield's Rooney added that he loved hearing his name roared around Windsor earlier this week.

"I love the chants. It helps me as a player and really encourages me," said the Northern Ireland under-21 international. "I'm not related to Wayne (Rooney) but I do look up to him. He is someone I've admired and been inspired by since I was a kid."

On Rooney's stunning start to life as a Linfield player, Blues boss David Healy stated: "It is important that new players come in and hit the ground running and full credit to him for doing that. The three goals he scored were what I would call clinical finishing.

"I like to see great goals scored but for me there is something really pleasing about seeing someone score goals from inside the box and Louis certainly did that on his debut."

The IRN-BRU Cup, which features sides from Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Scotland and Wales is not top on the list of Healy's priorities, but he insists his team will be professional and out to beat Spartans this afternoon.

"We have built some momentum early on in the season and we want to keep our good run going," said Healy.

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